Dealing with a water damage disaster is not something property owners ever want to face. Whether or not your insurance will cover the cost of water damage restoration depends on the specific details of your policy and the cause of the water damage. In general, most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover damage caused by sudden and accidental events, such as a burst pipe or severe storm. Coverage from storms will vary depending on the time of the weather event (hurricane, flash flooding, etc) and where and how the water enters your property. Some property insurance companies will require a separate policy to provide coverage for basement flooding from sewer backups, which have the potential to occur during heavy rain events.
Insurance Coverage for Water Damage Can Be Impacted By How Quickly a Property Owner Begins the Mitigation Process
However, if the water damage is caused by a lack of maintenance or neglect on your part, it may not be covered. It’s best to check with your insurance provider and review your policy to determine what is covered and what is not. No matter what, it is important to begin water mitigation as quickly as possible to minimize the damage caused by water damage, a sewer backup, or flooding. The longer water is allowed to sit, the more damage it has the potential to cause to the structure of a home or building and the contents within it. This is because water can seep into walls, floors, and ceilings, causing rot, mold growth, and other structural damage. Additionally, water can cause damage to furniture, appliances, and personal belongings.
As soon as you are aware of a flood, you should take immediate action to minimize the damage by:
- Stopping the source of the water if possible (i.e. turning off the main water valve)
- Moving furniture and personal belongings to higher ground
- Removing standing water with a sump pump or by mopping and blotting
- Opening windows and doors to increase air circulation and help dry the area
- Taking photos or video of the damage for insurance purposes
Do All Insurance Companies Treat Water Damage Claims The Same?
This is a great opportunity to check a company’s reputation through its social proof and online reviews. Posting in groups such as Nextdoor, Twitter or Facebook may provide insight into their claim handling with local homeowners. In addition, you can check the financial stability of an insurance company through rating agencies such as AM Best, Moody’s, and Standard & Poors. Additionally, customer satisfaction ratings can be found through organizations such as J.D. Power and Consumer Reports. Finally, you can check the complaint records of an insurance company through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). It is always a good idea to do your own research and read online reviews and testimonials from previous customers, as well as consult with a insurance agent or a broker.